Qatar threatens to withdraw from GCC

Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al Thani

Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al Thani

CAIRO. – Qatar threatened on Monday to withdraw from Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) by setting conditions for the Saudi-led bloc, state news agency MENA reported.

Qatari Minister of Foreign Affairs Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al Thani on Monday sent a letter to Secretary General of the GCC Abdul Latif Bin Rashid Al Zayani, setting his country’s conditions so as not to withdraw from the GCC.

Al Thani said Qatar is committed to international laws and conventions, especially with regard to fighting terrorism and its financing, adding that Qatar will not negotiate on its sovereignty.

He added that his country would give a three-day notice to the Gulf countries to lift the “siege” imposed on Qatar and compensate it for the political and economic losses.

Following the deadline, Qatar will officially announce its withdrawal from the GCC, according to the letter. Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain and Egypt issued a list of 13 demands to Qatar later last month, including closing Al-Jazeera TV station, stopping financing and supporting terrorism, and downgrading its ties with Iran, as major preconditions for ending their boycott.

The four countries vowed to take further political, economic and legal steps to tighten the screws on Doha after the latter refused to accept demands.

They are scheduled to hold another foreign ministers’ meeting, after the one held in Cairo, Egypt on July 5, in Bahrain soon to discuss the next steps. In response, Qatar has dismissed as “baseless” the Saudi-led bloc’s accusations that it supports terrorism and interferes in their internal affairs.

There has been speculation that Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain would try to expel Qatar from the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council, or even jeopardize Qatar’s membership in the Arab League.

Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson arrived Monday in Kuwait, the key mediator between Qatar and its Arab neighbours, for talks aimed at defusing the Gulf’s worst crisis in years.

Tillerson would shuttle between Kuwait, Qatar and Saudi Arabia until Thursday in what is the first serious intervention by Washington in the Gulf crisis.

He immediately held talks with Kuwait’s Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad Al-Sabah who is leading the mediation effort between the Gulf states, the official KUNA news agency reported. - Xinhua/AFP.

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